Margaret Rome's Blog

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No I Am Not An Attorney

 

Are We Too Litigious To List or Sell?

Come on, guys. We are Realtors®. We help people make significant decisions...buying and selling their homes. We need to be there for our buyers and sellers.

There seem to be more reasons NOT to be with our clients and NOT make this process easier. 

 Legal Scale


  

Why? 

We are a litigious society. We are afraid to do our job,  which consists of explaining, giving information, and helping people make the right decisions.

At this rate, the technology WILL be listing and selling because we have shied away from anything that may be cause for litigation.

 

Here are a few examples 

  • Listing agents should not be at home inspections.
  • Buyers agents should not be at home inspections. 
  • Listing agents should not meet the appraiser.
  • Don't put the assigned schools in the MLS.
  • Don't go to your settlements.
  • Don't explain the contract line by line for fear of giving legal advice.
  • Don't talk to the lender to see if the buyer is qualified or if they can settle in the time frame.
  • Don't recommend the home inspector, title company, termite company, or the structural engineer that may, in your opinion, be the best for the client.

 

 

How many times do we say

 

"I am not an attorney

and I don't play one on TV."

 

Of course, get legal advice but...

Are We A Bit Too Litigious To List or Sell?

Your Thoughts?

 

Margaret Rome

 

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Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Broker-Owner HomeRome Realty 

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Author of Real Estate the Rome Way

mrome@HomeRome.com

410.530.2400

 

 
Comment balloon 30 commentsMargaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland • July 02 2019 05:34AM

Comments

Good morning Margaret. Do your job correctly and know when to say “seek professional advice” and things will be fine. In today’s society everyone feels the urge to sue and can find an attorney who will do it. A fact of life. Enjoy your day 

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) 7 days ago

Wayne Martin Knowing when to "seek professional advice" is so important. If you are constantly afraid of being sued...maybe you are not confident in what you are doing. 

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 7 days ago

Hi Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland -  you really have made a good point.  This is also true in employment.  Attorneys can give you more reasons to do nothing at all.

Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) 7 days ago

Grant Schneider When listening to reasons why agents (or employees) DON"T do something...it seems to be that someone has warned them about getting sued. By doing nothing... they think that won't happen. We all know differently! Thanks for stopping by.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 7 days ago

Hello Margaret - you bring forth an interesting topic and some thought-provoking questions.  It seems like mastery of your "job" as well as your role in a transaction needs to be a part of the total picture.  Nothing more and nothing less.  

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393 7 days ago

Margaret- you make an excellent point and I get what you're saying. Even though you're doing what is professionally prudent, your sellers and buyers may look at it from a consumer's perspective. Some may think... what good are they? They don't seem to know anything.

I remember in my one year as an agent learning that if we attended an inspection that we should not be where we could hear what the inspector said in case we were called on in court.  How are you using your years of experience and expertise when you have to always remain in the background?!

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) 7 days ago

Michael Jacobs So very true.  " It seems like mastery of your "job" as well as your role in a transaction needs to be a part of the total picture. "

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 7 days ago

Kathy Streib  Some broker offices do think that way.

There are agents that don't want to hear...or maybe don't want to "waste the time" being at the inspection and use this as an excuse. Why do clients need us if we are not able to help? 

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 7 days ago

I agree. If you're afraid to do your job - then it's time to get a different job. Preferably one where you're just doing rote tasks and never giving advice or even an opinion.

What would qualify as work immune from lawsuits? Raking leaves maybe?

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) 5 days ago

Marte Cliff 

Love your comment...leaf raking but make sure you are insured. :)

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 5 days ago

                                              

                                                 Thank you Margaret. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) 5 days ago

Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland  I am a full service Real Estate Professional I do not give legal advice just Real Estate opinions - when it comes to legal issues I would recommend an attorney 

Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) 4 days ago

Good morning, Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland some sue just to freeze you up! very litigious society.... we do not ever play attorney....and this is one reason every client we deal with has a real estate attorney from day 1....

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) 4 days ago

There's just as much danger of litigation from doing, as not doing, your job.  So you might as well just damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead, and do what you would normally do without concern about lawyers and courts.

Serve your client to the best of your abilities, and let the lawsuits fall where they may.

Posted by Alan May, Helping you find your way home. (Coldwell Banker Residential) 4 days ago

Congrats on being featured by Kathy this week!  Great post!

Posted by Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, Giving Back With Each Home Sold! (RE/MAX Realty Center ) 4 days ago

Well Bernie is an attorney, although his license is currently not active and  he doesn't practice in our state. He is licensed in Oregon. With that said, we both offer as much advice and knowledge as we have - always. And we do meet appraisers, go to inspections, and attend closings. Naturally, we also remind them to seek fincanical or legal advice if they feel they need more detailed answers than we can offer. 

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) 4 days ago

Hannah Williams But of course...but you are there for your clients and know when to refer for legal advice. 

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 4 days ago

Barbara Todaro Good way to run your business. Each client has their own attorney.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 4 days ago

Alan May Full torpedo ahead is not the way I would go. It is just as much a chance to wind up in litigation by not doing as well as doing.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 4 days ago

Thanks Kathy Streib 

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 4 days ago

Thanks Kristin Johnston - REALTOR® 

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 4 days ago

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD What a perfect comment.

"we both offer as much advice and knowledge as we have - always. And we do meet appraisers, go to inspections, and attend closings. Naturally, we also remind them to seek financial or legal advice if they feel they need ."

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 4 days ago

I believe it's a pendulum thing and it's true across the board; not just in real estate. Sooner or later, things will go back the other way.

Posted by Jill Sackler, LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate (Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500) 4 days ago

Jill Sackler But until that pendulum swings back...we need to help our buyers and sellers make the big decisions.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 4 days ago

When it comes to inspectors and such I give 2-3 names an numbers and tell the clients to make there own calls and research. 

Posted by Rob D. Shepherd, Principal Broker GRI, SRES (Windermere/lane county) 4 days ago

Rob D. Shepherd That works well for you. 

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 3 days ago

If I'm not doing those things on the "don't do" list above, what do my clients need me for? I go to inspections, go to settlements, explain documents they need to sign, recommend inspectors and attorneys (although do give them several names). That's part of what has to happen in order to make their transaction as seamless as possible. 

As a society, we are way too litigious.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com) 3 days ago

Kat Palmiotti Nice seeing you. And it certainly looks like we are both on the same page. What do they need us for?

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 2 days ago

Hi Margaret:

You've certainly raised a good point. I'm careful about what I say and let others know it's my opinion and advice but I, too, attend buyer inspections, talk to lenders, etc. and whatever else I need to in order to represent my clients otherwise...as Kat says ---why do they need us?

I do not given financial or legal advice but recommend buyers and sellers consult the appropriate professional as needed.

Jeff

Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) about 18 hours ago

Jeff Dowler, CRS Sounds like you are being a true professional to your clients. They are so fortunate to be working with you.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 14 hours ago

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